French record label Harmonia Mundi brings a captivating new album of 18th-century music for harp and orchestra. La Harpe Reine (“The Queen’s Harp”) celebrates the harp’s renaissance in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This renaissance was inspired by Marie Antoinette, who arrived at the French court with her harp in 1770. The result was a flurry of new compositions for harp.
Harpist Xavier de Maistre breathes life into selections from the rich repertoire of the period, accompanied by France-based orchestra Les Arts Florissants. Under the direction of William Christie, Les Arts Florissants is one of the world’s premiere early-music groups and specializes in Baroque performances on period instruments.
The album features beautiful renderings of harp concertos by Jean-Baptiste Krumpholtz and Johann David Hermann, as well as Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 85 (“La Reine,” or, “The Queen”) and the Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orphée et Eurydice.